Forests, Precaution, Remedies, Biodiversity, Environmental Impact Assessments, Permits, Inspections, Standing, Civil, Prevention
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) granted environment clearance to the project proposed by Chemplast for manufacturing Poly-Vinyl Chloride (PVC) and to install a Marine Terminal Facility ('MTF') near the seashore for receiving and transferring Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) from the ships to the PVC plant through underground pipeline under the provisions of under the provisions of Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991. Chemplast made an application to the Executive Engineer, PWD, seeking permission for carrying seawater and raw-materials through pipelines laid 3.50 meter below the river bed. The Executive Engineer granted permission but in less than a month cancelled the aforesaid permission observing that VCM may cause pollution and health hazard to the public. The Madras High Court set aside the order of the Executive Engineer revoking the permission granted; it was then that the appellant filed PIL before the High Court praying therein that the order granting permission by the Executive Engineer be quashed and Chemplast be directed to forebear from laying of pipelines for drawing VCM raw-material from jetty to their plant. The petition was dismissed. The first question which the apex court analysed is whether Uppanar river and its banks at the point where pipelines pass, fall in the CRZ III area. In that case the pipelines crossing underneath Uppanar river would require environmental clearance. The other main question to consider is whether paragraph 2(ii) of 1991 Notification restricts transfer of VCM (hazardous substance) beyond port area to the PVC plant through pipelines. According to the Court,the permission granted to Chemplast by the MOEF is in exercise of the powers conferred under paragraph 3(2)(ii) of 1991 Notification, thus held no illegality in the permission granted by the Executive Engineer, as Uppanar river and its banks at the relevant place where the pipelines laid by the Chemplast pass do not fall under CRZ III area as per 1996 Plan for the purposes of demarcation and classification of CRZ area in the state of Tamil Nadu, and no environmental clearance is needed for such pipelines. Appeals are dismissed.